Diabetes Apps: Take Control of Your Diabetes Health

If you are living with pre-diabetes, type 2 or type 1 diabetes, there are many things to monitor to prevent long-term complications. You have the opportunity to directly influence the impact of diabetes on your health and life. You are in charge of the course of your disease on a daily basis, bite by bite and step by step.

A multitude of smartphone apps have been developed to help you simplify the management of your disease. As of 2013, there were hundreds of apps specifically tailored for people with diabetes. Now, in 2020, there must be even more! Diabetes-focused apps build bridges between data, patients, and healthcare providers. All the moving parts including food intake, carbohydrates, medications, insulin, exercise, blood glucose values, mood, and notes can be recorded and saved in one storage unit. This information can then be synced to generate reports for your healthcare provider to review at your next appointment.

Research is being conducted on the use of diabetes apps in relation to outcomes of diabetes management. Current research indicates that using a diabetes app results in decreased A1c, lower body weight, and reduction in waist circumference for patients as they become more engaged with their diabetes.

Selecting a diabetes app can be daunting because there are so many to choose from with many different features. Consider what your overall comfort level is with technology. If you love technology, one of the more comprehensive apps might be ideal for you. If you are over 55 years of age, you may be looking for simplicity without a barrage of bells and whistles. Most of these apps are free, and many have the option to step up to an advanced version for a small fee.

Here are seven diabetes apps that have received good reviews for you to start your app search:

Glucose Buddy:  Apple/Android- standard version. Free.

Glucose Buddy can track blood glucose, insulin, medication, food, carbs, A1c, steps, and physical activity. It includes an extensive food database, lets you scan bar codes to grab nutrition information from food products, and generates reports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diabetes Connect:  Apple/Android. Free.

This is a simple app to operate. You can track blood sugar, meals, medications, insulin. If there’s a feature in the app you don’t need, you can switch it off.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sugar Sense: Apple/Android. Free.

This is simple to operate. You can track blood glucose, carbohydrate intake medications, blood pressure, steps. It will sync with your Fitbit. It also can access recipes and generate reports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MySugr:  Apple/Android-standard version. Free.

This app tracks food, carbohydrates, medications, blood glucose, mood, and generates reports. You can includes meal photos with the “pro” version

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Drop: Apple/Android. Free.

One Drop tracks food, carbohydrates, blood glucose, medications, and mood. It has an integrated nutrition database and allows you to set reminders and generate reports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health2Sync:  Apple/Android –standard version. Free .

You can purchase a cable to upload glucometer readings to the app. For each glucose entry, you can add notes about medications, mood, exercise, meals, photos of meals. You can also track blood pressure, weight, and A1c.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diabetes Tracker:   Apple/Android. $10.00.

Diabetes Tracker tracks food, carbohydrates, medication, insulin, blood glucose value, water intake, and physical activity. It has a built-in barcode scanner and food database. An additional feature is a GPS tracker to log distances for walking, running or bicycling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can google each of these apps and read more about their features online. Select 3 or 4, download, and give them a test drive. See if you feel a sense of relief because you have all your important diabetes info in one spot. You can easily see an overview of how you are doing with your management tools on a daily basis. This is you taking charge of your health and life. This is empowerment.

CB

 

 

 

 

 

Home Exercises to Keep You Moving

It’s totally understandable if you don’t want to be going to the gym right now. For me, I really struggled to keep active and sane during this pandemic. Home workouts may not be the same as my gym workouts, but at least it gives me a way to destress to take my mind off of things. Here are some suggestions on what exercises you can do at home or while social distancing!

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are a great way to train if you are wanting resistance training at home. Although they are much lighter than what you could do at the gym, you can increase your repetitions or sets to raise the difficulty of the exercise. So instead of your normal 8-10 reps, increase it to 20-30 reps. You can do sets of 4 or 5 depending on how easy it is for you. You can buy them at Walmart or Amazon. They come in different strengths so you can use the band that works best for you. 

Interval Training

Interval training is a great workout if you like a sweaty cardio session and want a quick workout. Interval training breaks down your workout into alternating periods of high-intensity activity and rest periods.  It can be used with bodyweight exercises or break down a run. One easy way to make your own interval workout is to pick five to six different bodyweight exercises like lunges or squats and do as many reps with good form for 30 seconds. Then, rest completely for 30 seconds. Complete the circuit three to four times. Other options are cycling, stair climbing, or sprinting. Instead of resting completely, active rest by walking or cycling slower.  

Free Weights

Invest in some dumbells, medicine balls, or kettlebells to amp your bodyweight exercises. They can add variety and increase the intensity while working on increasing your strength. Personally, I prefer to use dumbells or kettlebells because they are a little more versatile from using them for rows to squats.

Walking

Did you know that walking and running burn the same amount of calories? Just walking can be beneficial to your health! Take an evening walk in your neighborhood or park after dinner for a few laps and get your steps in. 

Outdoor Activities

Since the weather is starting to cool down, there are many places to visit if you want some fresh air. The 2020 Oklahoma State Parks & Outdoor Guide is a great resource to see all the nature that Oklahoma offers. In the guide, it suggests great places to go hiking, water activities, climbing spots, and other outdoor activities. You can also go on bike rides. Lake Draper, Lake Hefner, and along the river has great trails that you can bike.

Workout Apps or Youtube Workouts

There are plenty of virtual workouts.  They are great if you don’t want to plan your workout and need the motivation to keep going. They range from Yoga to HIIT training. Here are some of my favorite apps and Youtube channels I like to use. 

  • Nike Training:
    • Nike Training has a variety of workouts to choose from. You can choose the difficulty level, but also the specificity of the workout such as a core workout. There are workouts that focus on improving your mobility to a simple 20 minute bodyweight HIIT workout. 
  •  Blogilates:
    • Most of Cassey’s workouts are pilates based. She has a variety of different videos that either focuses on a specific body part or total body workouts. They range from a quick 10 minute or to a whole 30. What I like about Cassey is that she is positive and enthusiastic while being a great teacher showing you the proper technique.
  • Zumba:
    •  If you aren’t familiar with Zumba, it’s a dance-based workout that gets your blood pumping. There are so many fun Zumba workouts on Youtube. Just search your favorite song at the moment and you will most likely find a Zumba workout to it.
  • Sworkit
    • If you like customization and variety, Sworkit may be for you! They offer programs for yoga, cardio, strength, and stretching. You can choose how long you want your workout to be and add or delete movements to your needs. There are clear videos to show how to do the exercise to guide you through the workout.

Home workouts may not be the same as gym workouts, but you can adapt them to fit your needs. It may be difficult in the beginning, but start off with small achievable goals to help you get to where you want to be! That can be walking every day for 30 minutes or doing 2 strengthening workouts per week. If you struggle to keep motivated, have a workout buddy that can keep you accountable. Exercising is a lot more fun when you have someone by your side struggling with you. 🙂

Always remember to have warm up before your workout and cool down after to prevent possible injuries! AN

Back to the Basics – Buffet-Style

When it comes to mealtime, most people can agree that finding recipes that are both quick and meet everyone’s taste preferences all while being nutritionally balanced is no easy task. But what if there was a way to create a simple, nutritious meal that took everyone’s preferences into consideration (yes, even the youngest, most selective eater) and gave you back more quality time with your friends and family? With a little prep and a buffet-style set-up, you can make this a reality! Simply follow the tips and tricks outlined below for more time with the ones you love and less time in the kitchen.

 

5 Buffet Basics

#1 –   Choose a general theme and main ingredient (or two).

Think, tacos – baked potatoes – nachos – salads – pasta – yogurt – oatmeal. Place the main ingredient such as pasta, shredded lettuce, or yogurt in the middle and build around it. Try to grab at least one option from each food group (fruit, vegetable, grain, dairy, and protein). These can be cold or hot. For example, deli meat is a great, simple way to add a lean protein to any buffet.

 

#2 –   Prepare ingredients once and use for more than one buffet-night.

Try to think of meals that include several of the same ingredients so that you only need to prepare once. For example: tacos and loaded baked potatoes can both use shredded cheese, grilled chicken, diced tomatoes, sour cream, and shredded lettuce.

 

#3 –   Make it easy and use what’s already available!

This is a great way to use leftovers – think of last night’s brisket or pulled pork on nachos or leftover vegetables tossed into pasta – Yummy!

 

#4 –   Try to include favorites so that each person can find something they enjoy.

If this is difficult, opt for either a bowl of fruit or salad to include at every meal so that there is always a second option. This also helps parents to avoid the “short-order-cook” pitfall that we all too often fall prey to when we make special accommodations.

 

#5 –   Allow everyone to serve themselves (if age appropriate).

The key is to allow everyone to take turns, starting with adults so that the younger ones can have an example to follow. This is also a great chance for children to watch others try new foods which may encourage them to try new foods themselves. After all, monkey – see – monkey – do! Also, it is important to encourage everyone to take only one serving at a time and let them know that there is more once everyone has had a chance to eat. With small children, consider a divided plate to guide them.

 

Lastly, make a game of it and see who can get the most colors on their plate to maximize flavor and nutrition while having a little fun. For more fun and delicious recipes, visit our Recipe Page for more ideas.

 

Bone Health: Tips for Strong Bones  

Did you know that your bone mass density peaks at 30? Strong bones are important to help us move and support our bodies. Without them, it would be difficult to do the things we love. Eating a balanced diet, being active, and not smoking or drinking excessively helps keep our bones strong and healthy.  

 

What are Osteopenia and Osteoporosis?

Our bones are constantly reforming all the time with new bone being formed and old bone being reabsorbed. Sometimes we can lose too much bone, make not enough new bone, or both. Osteopenia is when bone loss is significant. The bones are weakened leading to a higher risk of fractures. When bone loss is more severe this is called osteoporosis.

 

Nutrition

Calcium and vitamin D are the two most vital micronutrients in maintaining bone health. Calcium builds bone while vitamin D helps with calcium absorption.  Good sources of calcium can be found in dairy products, dark leafy greens, and products fortified with calcium. Dairy is the best source of calcium. A cup of yogurt has about 450 mg of calcium and a cup of 2% milk has about 300 mg. Broccoli is another great vegetable source with about 180 in one cup. 1000 mg of calcium daily is recommended.

Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Your body can also produce Vitamin D from sunlight if you spend 15 minutes outside. It’s also important to have adequate protein, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus intake. These minerals help build new bone and the absorption of calcium. Eating a diverse and balanced diet with all food groups will ensure you will get all the necessary nutrients. 

 

Being Active 

In addition to getting enough nutrients, you can increase or maintain your bone strength with being active. The best activities are resistance training and weight-bearing exercises like running, jump roping, hiking, jogging, and dancing. Weight-bearing exercises are great because they stimulate bone remodeling to keep your bones strong!

 

Bone health is important at all stages of your life, whether you are young or old. You can take steps now to build your bone density or help sustain what you already have. Osteoporosis or osteopenia may not be completely preventable due to genetics and other factors. But you can lower the risk by being active, having a balanced diet, and not drinking and smoking excessively. 

COVID-19: Natural Remedies, Healthful or Hype?

There are two very important ways you can protect yourself are to reduce exposure and strengthen your immunity.

1) Reduce exposure by washing your hands routinely, cleaning frequently touched surfaces (think keyboards, cellphones, doorknobs), staying home when you are sick and limiting visitors, and covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze (sneeze and cough into your elbow, not your hands).

2) Eat a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and reducing stress.

Nutrients, such as vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin D, have a long track record for playing a role in normal immune system function.

Vitamin C 
– Acts as an antioxidant, reducing inflammation caused by cell damage
– Helps direct immune cells to the site of infection to help fight illness
– Activates enzymes that help control the body’s response to severe infection
– Assists in the production of collagen, which can protect against injury to the skin

Zinc
– Activates immune cells that protect the body from infection
– Supports the growth of healthy skin cells
– Has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of some viral illnesses

Vitamin D 
– Keeps bones healthy, which supports the production of immune cells
– Activates immune cells that protect the body from infection – Has been shown in research to reduce the risk of some respiratory infections

Certain extracts have also been shown to help support immune function including garlic, elderberry, and lauric acid (from coconut oil). That being said, no one can strengthen their immune system overnight and there is no evidence that any supplement can prevent coronavirus or reduce symptoms in people who are affected. Many experts are recommending to not spend money on nutritional supplements if they are being taken only for this purpose.

DH/KD

How Does Your Bar Add Up?

As a Dietitian, I always recommend real food over meal replacements, shakes or bars. In a perfect world, we would sit down and eat a balanced meal three times a day. However, if you are in a time crunch, having a nutrition bar is better than skipping a meal. So that leads us to the big question – “how do I choose the right bar?”  Choosing the right bar for you can be very challenging. Several bars on the shelves are full of sugar with similar nutrition content as a candy bar. Here are a few guidelines and things to look for when choosing a nutrition bar:

 

  • Carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates are a great source of sustainable energy, so look for bars that have fiber content. Also, look for bars that contain natural sources of sugar, like fruit. Try to limit added sugars.

Rule of thumb: 2 gm or more of fiber and 8-10 gm or less of total sugar content

 

  • Protein: Protein is needed to help you feel full and keep you feeling full between meals, so this is an important one. Your body can only absorb a certain amount of protein in one sitting, so getting a bar with 30-40 gm protein is not helpful.

Rule of thumb: 8-20 gm protein content

 

  • Fat: Look for a bar that contains healthy sources of fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) and avoid bars high in saturated or trans fats.

Rule of thumb: less than 3 gm saturated fat content

 

Here is a list of bars that meet the guidelines above:

  • Kashi GOLEAN Plant Powered Bars: Salted Dark Chocolate and Nut; Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • KIND Breakfast Protein Bars: Dark Chocolate Cocoa; Almond Bar; Maple Cinnamon; Peanut Butter Banana Dark Chocolate
  • KIND Sweet and Spicy Bars: Roasted Jalapeno; Thai Sweet Chili; Sweet Cayenne BBQ
  • CLIF Whey Protein Bars: Mint Chocolate Almond Flavor
  • CLIF Mojo Bars: Honey Srirocka
  •  CLIF Luna Bars: Lemonzest; Chocolate Peppermint Stick; Sea Salt Caramel; Nutz Over Chocolate; White Chocolate Macadamia; S’mores; Chocolate Cupcake
  • POWER Bar Plant Protein Bars: Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt
  • EPIC Bars: Chicken Sesame BBQ; Turkey Almond Cranberry
  • Nature Valley Protein Chewy Bar: Honey Peanut Almond
  • Think Thin Protein + Fiber Bars: Pumpkin Spice
  • KIZE Bars: Cocoa; Peanut Butter; Vanilla Almond; Cinnamon Roll; Pumpkin Seed; Peanut Butter Crunch with Pumpkin Seeds

 

Note: The above recommendations are for healthy adults. If you have a chronic disease, please talk to your Dietitian to see if there are any other specific recommendations for you to look at. The bars pictured were found at Crest Foods and Target.

 

LN

I Hate My Food Intolerances

“I hate my food intolerances!”

If you have said this before, this blog post is for you. I have been living with food intolerances myself for years and let me tell you, it has been a journey to acceptance. My intolerances began after my first pregnancy and it has taken years to figure out my new normal.  I have dealt with all the feelings: anger, frustration, annoyance, sadness, and down right feeling sorry for myself. Even after all this time, there are days that are really hard. And it is OK. So how do you get through it?

The first step is truly identifying what foods affect you. For years I thought my intolerances were from gluten and after eliminating wheat/gluten products I felt better, but not 100% normal. I took a Pinner test and the results were shocking. A staple food in my life was the main culprit to my poor gut health: eggs. This was incredibly difficult to accept. When I eliminated them from my diet, I noticed a world of change and quickly found reasonable substitutes to give my body a chance to heal. The bloating, pain, fatigue and a host of other symptoms have slowly gone away and what is left is… nothing. A lack of symptoms and a feeling of normal that I didn’t think I could feel.

Going forward, I ask a million questions at restaurants, buy new products, and try alternate recipes with the goal of keeping my body symptom free and completely satisfied. Remember folks, there are thousands of foods out there, so there is no need to focus on the few items that you can’t have.  So find out what you are actually intolerant/allergic to and make the adjustments to your pantry so you can be comfortable in your kitchen again. Please feel free to contact us to find out more information on our Pinner tests and set an appointment to start your path down the road to eating with confidence again. MU

Buying Healthy on a Budget

Is grocery shopping for a healthy lifestyle more expensive? The answer is absolutely not, but it can be if you let it. As a student studying nutrition I hear this all the time from friends, family, and random people I meet, “I would love to start eating healthy but it’s so expensive”. I am going to show you how it can be way cheaper to buy fresh, real food versus the pre-packaged, convenience foods at the grocery store and share some tips on how to find the healthier products!

I have listed a few items that I feel are commonly bought at the grocery store (Walmart Grocery prices).

Shopper 1

  • Maple & brown sugar instant oatmeal packs (160 calories/serving) > $2.50
  • Welch’s fruit snacks (80 calories/serving) > $6.98
  • Bag of Doritos (140 calories/serving) > $3.98
    • Totals = $13.46, 380 calories

Shopper 2

  • 100% Whole Grain quick oats (150 calories/serving) > $1.76
  • 2 lbs of grapes (30 calories/ 15 grapes) > $5.76
  • 1 bag of string cheese 12ct (70 calories/serving) > $2.18
    • Totals = $9.70, 250 calories

As you can tell, shopper 1 bought the processed, pre-packaged items while shopper 2 chose a healthier and less processed version of shopper 1’s items. The healthier options not only cost less and are lower in calories, but the health benefits they provide are going to save you money in the future as well due to less medical bills and visits to the doctor.

I also have some tips to help you make healthier decisions while you are at the grocery store. I know you have probably heard some of these before but that just means that they are working for people!

  1. Make a list. This doesn’t mean throw together a list in the car on the way there, this means plan your meals and snacks for the week and write it all down.
  2. Eat a snack. We all know you aren’t supposed to go to the grocery store hungry, so if you know you’re one to buy impulsively from cravings, then have a snack before you go or even take one with you.
  3. Shop on the perimeter. Have you ever noticed that the fresh produce, meat, and dairy are all on the perimeter of the grocery stores? The processed foods tend to be in the aisles in the middle of the store, so after shopping for all your wonderful, fresh foods venture over to get necessities from the aisles such as brown rice or whole grain bread.
  4. I hope this blog has opened your eyes to the world of grocery shopping for a healthier lifestyle. Reminder: this does not mean you have to give up your favorite cookies or ice cream… Everything can fit onto your plate in moderation. In the long-run, your body and mind will thank you for eating fruits and vegetables as well as a cookie now and then! KM

Food Allergies

Prevalence and Severity of Food Allergies Among US Adults – Article Review

A new study was published looking at the prevalence of food allergies among adults in the US. Since most studies are centered around childhood food allergies, this information is greatly welcomed. Food allergies continue to be a relevant topic as they pose a threat to many people’s health and well-being. Adults can either develop food allergies later in life (example: fin fish and shellfish) or continue to react to food allergies from childhood. This study set out to provide comprehensive, national representative estimates of the distribution, severity, and factors associated with adult food allergy in the United States.

Surveys were administered to a sampling of US households, age 18 and above, by NORC at the University of Chicago from 10/9/2015 – 9/18/2016. The primary outcome measures for the study were the prevalence and severity of overall and food specific convincing adult food allergy.  Criteria were set to distinguish between convincing and non-convincing food allergies: severity of reactions and organ systems involved. Statistical analysis was done to compare relative prevalence and other assessed food allergy outcomes by participant characteristics.

Overall 10.8% of US adults were estimated to have 1 or more convincing food allergies, suggesting that at least 12 million adults have adult – onset food allergies and 13 million have experienced 1 or more severe reactions. The data suggests 1 in 10 US adults are food allergic and 1 in 5 adults believe they are food allergic.  The most common allergies seen were: shellfish, peanut, milk, tree nuts, and fin fish. Half of the participants reported a diagnosed allergy and peanuts tended to be the FA with the highest rate of physician diagnoses. A history of severe reactions was more commonly reported by participants with peanut and tree nut allergies. 8.6% of participants reported 1 or more ER visits within the last year. Rates of females with convincing FA were higher than those of males and younger adults (age 30-39 years) were higher than participants 60 years or older. Food allergies continue to be a prevailing topic in health care and as shown in this study, are extremely common in the United States.

To see the study in its entirety visit: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2720064

MU

Sweet & Savory Smoothie Bowls

If you haven’t heard, smoothie bowls are a growing trend due to their bright colors and nutritious benefits. A smoothie bowl is exactly what it sounds like, a smoothie in a bowl! The difference between a smoothie bowl and your average smoothie in a glass is that they tend to be a bit thicker and people like to add toppings such as fruits, nuts, and granola to them. You can have them for any meal or even a post-workout snack and they usually include greens, fruits, protein, and a healthy fat.

Here are three different smoothie bowl recipes you should try!

Mango Almond Smoothie Bowl– 1/2 C frozen mango (chopped), 1/2 C nonfat plain Greek yogurt, 1/4 C frozen banana (sliced), 1/4 C plain unsweetened almond milk, 1/8 tsp ground allspice, 1/2 tsp honey, one serving of almonds and 1/4 C raspberries to top it off.

Honeydew Smoothie Bowl – 4 C frozen honeydew (cubed 1/2-in pieces), 1/2 C unsweetened coconut milk beverage, 1/3 C green juice (such as wheatgrass), 1 Tbsp honey, pinch of salt, melon balls – berries – nuts – fresh basil to top it off!

Berry, Banana & Avocado Smoothie Bowl – 1 C Silk (not chocolate flavor), 1/2 C oats, 1 C frozen banana, 1 C frozen mixed berries, 1/4 avocado, 1-2 Tbsp honey, 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed, topping suggestions – goji berries, chia seeds, fresh berries, pumpkin seeds, granola.

The variety with these smoothie bowls is endless depending on your fruit and veggie preferences so get out there and start creating!

KM

*Recipes and picture courtesy of eatingwell.com*